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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I'm sure we've all figured out by now, fighting Social Anxiety can be pretty tough. Many of us are too shy to ask for help, leaving us feeling isolated and discouraged. Oftentimes we'll try to fix too much at once and get frustrated when we fall. And I that I for one have an extremely difficult time seeing the achievements I make as positives, and tend to focus on all the little mistakes I make instead. The list of struggles goes on and on, but the point is this: battling our SA isn't fun.

What if we could change that?

This is where SuperBetter comes in. I'll let the Jane McGonigal, its creator, introduce the idea. "SuperBetter is a superhero-themed game that turns getting better into a multi-player adventure. It's designed to help anyone... coping with a chronic condition, get better, sooner - with more fun, and with less pain and misery, along the way." (the game isn't specifically tailored to fighting SA, but I'll be making a number of changes and additions to keep things relevant and and fun.) SuperBetter allows you to form a team of trusty sidekicks and attack your SA head-on via a series of top secret missions, all while using sweet powerups, getting into surprise scuffles with dastardly villains, earning shiny merit badges, saving hapless hostages, and making daring escapes. If you're feeling particularly scruffy, you might even take on one of your arch nemeses, earning the key to the city from the Mayor if you are successful.

My hope is to run games of SuperBetter here through the site, allowing users to participate either as hero/heroines or trusty sidekicks, and making it easy to get support from others, track your progress, and have some fun while kicking SA's butt!

So who's excited to beat up some bad guys? Anyone and everyone here can be a part of SuperBetter, obviously. I'll explain in more detail how this whole process will work later on, but for now just get to work on Mission #1 if you'd be interested in playing.

Mission #1: Create Your SuperBetter secret identity
"You're the hero of this adventure. And you can be anyone you want, from any story you love. So pick your favorite story - anything from James Bond to Gossip Girl, Twilight to Harry Potter, Batman to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You're about to borrow their superpowers and play the leading role yourself." If you want to pick a brand new secret identity, that's cool too.

"[Jane, the inventor] chose Buffy the Vampire Slayer as [her] storyline. That made [her] Jane the Concussion Slayer, and that made [her] symptoms the vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness [she] was destined by fate to battle against. The point of this mission is to start seeing yourself as powerful, not powerless. And it underscores the fact that you are heroic for choosing to persevere in the face of your injury or illness. Plus, it's just plain fun take on a secret, heroic identity. If you can't be yourself (due to your symptoms), why not be someone secret and awesome?"

One last thing! Be sure to specify if you want to participate as a hero/heroine or a trusty sidekick (or both). Heroes/heroines will be creating their own threads to track their jaw-dropping exploits and successes within SuperBetter, and get to beat up scores of nasty villains. Trusty sidekicks don't get their own threads, and focus on helping out the heroes/heroines in accomplishing their goals. Participating as a sidekick is also less time intensive, and should take as little as ten minutes a day (although you could certainly spend more time helping out if you'd like).

Alright folks, get ready to get SuperBetter!
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As a disclaimer, SuperBetter obviously won't replace professional treatment in any way, but there's no way it won't help speed things along. The inventor of the game used it to recover from a nasty concussion in almost half the usual time!
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mission #1: Secret Identity

From here on out you can call me "papaSmurf the SA Assassin"



Born under a full moon inside the cramped cargo bays of a Cold-War era nuclear submarine, the SA Assassin was mistakenly jettisoned from the starboard missile bays at the tender age of eleven months. Miraculously swimming to shore from the sub's location deep within the Arctic Circle, he spent his formative years in the care of a clan of friendly Swedish ninja-werewolves. Every day he diligently studied the clan's ancient, deadly arts of acrobatics, swordplay, and efficient furniture design.

One fateful midwinter night, however, brought tragedy to his peaceful ninja-werewolf village. Social Anxiety, equipped with twin silver bullet-firing shotguns, rode through town on his robo-chariot and laid waste to the town, sparing no prisoners. papaSmurf, having at the time been assembling a flat-pack loft for a tribe of nearby gypsies, managed to survive the attack, but the dying howls of his adopted family haunt him still.

Ever since that night, the SA Assassin has had but one mission: to hunt down the villainous Social Anxiety and serve him cold ninja justice. He has tracked SA and its henchmen relentlessly across the globe, every day nearing one step closer to his revenge, and becoming SuperBetter.

I'll be happy to help out as a trusty sidekick.
 

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Gentle Impulsion
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7,792 Posts
woo roleplaying!! i love it already and i haven't even started =]
here's a lovely picture of my character =)


With no recollection of past life, Aeon Clockwind awoke on earth in the year 2009. Finding myself chained to the world, unable to escape and return to wherever I belong. I'm now forced to find my way in this world, forever different than human beings.

Hiding for the longest time in secret afraid of what the world would think, Aeon is now learning human tricks to keep up with the world. Wings are kept hidden under human clothes so as not to be judged. However, Aeon still wishes to show the wings without the hassle of keeping them secret.

There is an evil in this world, that is known to me for sure. It's the terrible destroyer of worlds, who's name is uttered as "Social Anxiety" in human language. Perhaps that is the reason I am in this world is to defeat this evil "thing".

So in turn, Aeon must fight to find out her previous life as well as learn and destroy the enemy that haunts me.
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess it kind of is roleplaying, but I feel like their are a lot of locked-in connotations about what that means that don't really apply here. The goal of your secret identity for SuperBetter is just to pick a character that makes you feel cool/capable/awesome. You don't have to have to make up your own character (for example, my second choice for my identity was Bernard from Disney's "The Rescuers Down Under" (best movie ever!)), and you definitely don't have to talk in character or anything unless that is something you want to do. I'm trying to keep the appeal as broad as possible here, so approach your secret identity any way you want, whatever you pick is totally fine.

That said, congratulations on completing Mission #1 Aeon! You've earned yourself a sweet "Caped Crusader" merit badge for choosing your secret identity. And guess what? Because you're the very first one to complete this mission, it's made of solid, shiny platinum! Nice!
 

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Gentle Impulsion
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woohoo haha!! =]

I have a new mission: Comment 5 people on all my social networking sites! 15 All together. Mission is ago!!
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright! That's great that you're already setting up new missions. That said, SuperBetter has a bit more structure to it than I've really explained so far, so let's just go ahead and call all your heroic deeds between now and Mission #2 "sidequests" Saving hostages, rescuing cats out of trees, that sort of thing. Important stuff, but not nearly as cool as top secret missions.

For now, let's just use this thread to get people started on Mission #1. I'm glad you're excited Aeon (and it's cool that at least one person has signed on for this crazy idea), but we really ought to get a few more people on board this train before we leave the station!

For anyone else who wants to play SuperBetter, be sure to mention whether you want to be a hero/heroine or a trusty sidekick. (I'm assuming you're signing on as a heroine Zomgz) Heroes and heroines will eventually be making their own threads to track their progress through SuperBetter and their triumphs against SA, with the trusty sidekicks acting as support for the main players and requiring less time investment. Sidekicks chiefly check up on the heroes/heroines and award them merit badges for their accomplishments, but they are a super important part of the game!
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One more thing: I didn't invent this game. SuperBetter was developed by Jane McGonigal , PhD, of the Institute for the Future. You can read more about her on her site at http://avantgame.com/, and more about the specifics of SuperBetter here http://blog.avantgame.com/2009/09/super-better-or-how-to-turn-recovery.html. The second link also has a couple videos at the bottom wherein she describes some of the ideas and mechanics behind the game!

While I didn't make SuperBetter up, I do have permission from Jane to be running games of it here on the site.
 

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I'll be a sidekick.

Some say I produced and directed Two Girls One Cup during a particularly long binge drinking session, others say I invented GladWrap so that my sammies wouldn't get all soggy when it rains in the jungle. I am The Ghost Who Walks aka The Man Who Cannot Die aka The Phantom.


Do I have man boobs? I was buying an ice-cream one day and this little girl told me I had nice boobs. (*****!)

I don't have any supernatural powers of any kind, but rely on my "strength, intellect and reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat [my] opponents". I am the first [superhero/sidekick] "to wear the skintight costume that has become a hallmark of comic book superheroes, and the first to wear a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard."

As a result of my skintight wardrobe choices, the curse of anxiety placed on me by SA and an unfortunate incident with a little girl at an ice cream shop, I am forever self conscious of my appearance, among other things. While I am a useful sidekick in your fight against SA, be prepared to be incessantly peppered with the following queries, "Does my butt looks big in this?" and "Do I have man boobs?" and many related variants.

[quoted bit is from wiki's Phantom article]
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If people would be more comfortable with a group I am totally fine with that! I can definitely see how turning this into a private thing could make it easier to post Maybe we'll just sort of use this thread as an ad for the group? Groups seem kind of hard to find just on their own, and we still need lots more heroes, heroines, and sidekicks. I can't really tell if people are too shy to sign onto/provide feedback on this idea or just not interested (this is a recurring problem with SA), but I'm going to keep pushing this for a while yet! I really think this thing is going to deliver metric crap-tons of entertainment and practical benefit once we get started.

Goodness gracious, here comes The Phantom! Glad to have such a fashion-forward individual joining the team (purple-and-black striped underwear? Yes please!) Whoever the Phantom teams up with, he is sure to provide excellent advice on what to wear. As the second brave soul to complete Mission #1 with his life intact, he's earned himself a golden "Caped Crusader" merit badge, to be air-dropped to the heart of his secret lair within 3-5 business days by Russian fighter jets. It might not be quite as cool as the platinum badge, but it's still worth it's weight in gold, literally. What's more, for sporting the absolute most revealing costume permissible under international law, he's also managed to score a svelte "Barely There" merit badge. It's sort of a mixed blessing.
 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good idea! I will have to figure out how to do that.

Edit: Well that was easy. I've set up a SuperBetter group that links from my sig. Feel free to check it out!
 

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Interesting idea! Looks like fun...:)
 

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Goodness gracious, here comes The Phantom! Glad to have such a fashion-forward individual joining the team (purple-and-black striped underwear? Yes please!) Whoever the Phantom teams up with, he is sure to provide excellent advice on what to wear. As the second brave soul to complete Mission #1 with his life intact, he's earned himself a golden "Caped Crusader" merit badge, to be air-dropped to the heart of his secret lair within 3-5 business days by Russian fighter jets. It might not be quite as cool as the platinum badge, but it's still worth it's weight in gold, literally. What's more, for sporting the absolute most revealing costume permissible under international law, he's also managed to score a svelte "Barely There" merit badge. It's sort of a mixed blessing.
:lol

<The Phantom tries to pin his most priced badge - the Barely There badge - to his uniform, but can't find any loose bits to pin it to. Ends up stabbing himself multiple times in his chest with the badge pin and faints at the first sign of blood ...>

Gah, I think I'll just keep these badges in my lair for now.

In his lair, the Skull Cave, the Phantom ponders over his latest dilemma - how to pin a badge to his skin tight uniform without creating any rips hmm .. :

 

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Ambassador of Hugs
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
*bump*

Anyone who's looked at this thread and is still on the fence, feel free to ask any questions you might have right here! I'll also be putting up a quick and dirty explanation of how this thing works in the group relatively soon, that wall of text that is my first post in this thread seems a bit overwhelming looking back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No worries Tor, I probably haven't done the best job of describing it. Let me see if I can sum it up briefly here:

SuperBetter
is a multi-player game that we're going to be playing over the SAS forums. The goal of the game is to make beating your SA less difficult and more fun. You move towards getting SuperBetter by completing a series of top secret missions designed to help you manage your anxiety, earning awesome badges for each successful mission as well as for various other achievements. The first 5 missions are the same for everybody, and help to get things started, but each mission after the 5th is personalized to provide appropriate challenges for your situation.

The first mission is to pick your super secret identity, which can basically be anything that makes you feel awesome, and then decide whether you want to be a hero or a sidekick.

The valiant heroes (and heroines) are the main players of SuperBetter: they receive and complete missions based upon their particular brand of SA, check in with their sidekicks briefly every day about their progress, and earn badges, bragging rights, and other neat things for their achievements. Playing SuperBetter as a hero (or heroine) also creates a record of all your successes, allowing you to look back and see just how far you've come.

No heroine worth her salt should be caught fighting her battles alone! Sidekicks help out the heroes by getting in touch with them (holding secret meetings) and taking about 5-10 minutes going over the events of the day, every day, and then using that info to assign new missions and dole out sweet merit badges. Heroes can have multiple allies of course, so no one sidekick should have to do all the work unless they want to. Sidekicks also keep a record of their hero's epic successes and other great deeds for posterity.

Over the course of Missions 2-5, the heroes/heroines team up with sidekicks, identify trigger behaviors and positive coping skills (bad guys and powerups, respecively), dream up a bunch of specific ways to challenge their anxiety (boss fights), and create a general to-do list of not-necessarily SA-related goals big and small that they'd like to achieve (sidequests). After the first 5 missions, heroes and their sidekicks take all this information and use it to build fun, safe, and rewarding challenges for the player.

Most importantly, SuperBetter is fun!
It makes it easy to find a friendly and receptive support team, provides you with realistic goals, and rewards all your hard work by giving you bragging rights and making you feel awesome. You're under no pressure to get everything done all at once, as you only need to take out one bad guy at a time. Taking on a challenge that's too tough at the time is no big deal either, you simply make a grand escape, knowing you'll just come back when you're stronger and kick butt. Finally, getting a chance to punch SA in the face just feels good!

Hopefully that cleared things up a bit. Don't hesitate to ask more questions if there's something that still doesn't make sense. And if you're still on the fence, just go ahead and sign up! We still could use plenty more players. Top Secret Mission #1 only takes 5 minutes, and you'll be missing out on metric crap-tons of fun by not playing. Just getting better is boring, so let's get SuperBetter!
 
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